The Netherlands is generally considered a safe country. However, be alert in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and other large cities that are plagued by pickpockets and bicycle theft, violent crimes are very rare.

Police, ambulance and fire brigade have one general emergency number 112. There is one police force, organized in 25 police regions. Visitors will deal with mostly the regional police. Some specialized forces, such as the railway police and the highway police on main roads, are run by a separate national force highway police being the KLPD - Korps Landelijke Politie Diensten, and railway police being the spoorwegpolitie. When calling 112, if you can, advise on what emergency services what you need. When you need police but there is no life in danger or crime being executed, you call +31900-8844, with this number they will come quickly but without sirens. If you want to report a crime anonymously (http://www.meldmisdaadano...). because you are in fear of reprisals or a confrontation with the perpetrator you can call +31800-7000.

Border controls and port and airport security are handled by a separate police force, the Marechaussee or abbreviation 'KMar' - Koninklijke Marechaussee, a gendarmerie. They are an independent service of the Dutch armed forces making them a military service, not a civil one. City guards have security tasks among their duties in most cities such as issuing parking and litter fines. They often have police-style uniforms to confer some authority, but their powers are limited. For instance, only the police carry a gun.

Prostitution in the Netherlands is legal since 1988 if the prostitute consents. Pimping or otherwise exploiting women against their will is a crime. Illegal prostitution in hotels can be raided by the police and the client as well as the prostitute can be fined or be put in jail. Hotel personnel are obliged by law to notify the police if they suspect these kinds of illegal activities. Having sex with a minor 18 for prostitutes, 16 for other people is also illegal.

European Network against Racism, an international organisation supported by European Commission reported that, in the Netherlands, half of the Turks reported having experienced racial discrimination. The same report points out a "dramatic growth of Islamophobia" paralleled with anti-Semitism. These attitudes are however almost entirely to do with migration concerns, and, being people famed for their tolerance, the Dutch are very unlikely to treat visitors any differently based on their ethnicity.

Unsafe parts of citiesIn the larger cities, certain areas are considered unsafe at night. A few are also unsafe in daylight but only relatively so; the chances of you getting in trouble in one of these areas are still very small:

Amsterdam: Kolenkitbuurt, Overtoomse Veld, Amsterdam-Zuidoost, Osdorp

The Hague: Morgenstond, Schilderswijk

Deventer: Heechterp/Schieringen, Rivierenwijk

Eindhoven: Woensel West

Leeuwarden: Heechterp/Schieringen

Maastricht: Noord-Oost

Nijmegen: Hatert

Rotterdam: Bloemhof, Hillesluis, Oude Noorden, Oude Westen, Pendrecht, Spangen, Tarwewijk, Tussendijken

Utrecht: Kanaleneiland, Ondiep

Zaanstad: Poelenburg

The Netherlands has some of the best 'tap water' in the world. It is even considered to be of similar or better quality than natural mineral or spring water and is distributed to every household and controlled by 'water authorities'. Food either bought in a supermarket or eaten at a restaurant shouldn't pose any problem either. The health care system is up to par with the rest of Europe and most cities have hospitals where usually most of the staff speaks English at least all medical staff. In general, it's a case of common sense.

In summer, open air recreational mainly fresh water swimming areas might suffer from the notorious blue algae, a rather smelly cyanobacteria which when it dies, releases toxins into the water. When these occur, a signpost at the entrance to the area or near the water should tell you so by stating something like "waarschuwing: blauwalg". If in doubt, ask someone.

When walking or camping in forests and dunes be aware of ticks and tick-carrying diseases such as Lyme disease. It is advisable to wear long sleeves and to put trousers into your socks.

Prostitution in the Netherlands has been legalized to a certain degree, but even when indulging into these practices at brothels or other locations in the Netherlands where sex is sold do always use a condom since STDs are still a problem in this industry.

body language

The Dutch are reserved and don't touch in public or display anger or extreme exuberance.

Wearing sunglasses or covering the face otherwise while speaking to someone is considered extremely rude the only exception being during the Dutch Carnival.

The Dutch expect eye contact while speaking with someone.

Spitting is considered very rude.

Keep your hands out of your pockets while talking to someone or shaking hands.

gay and lesbian travellers

As mentioned above, the Netherlands is quite liberal when it comes to homosexuality and by far is considered to be one of the gay-friendliest countries in the world. The Netherlands has a reputation of being the first country to recognize same-sex marriage, and openly displaying your orientation wouldn't cause much upset in the Netherlands. However, even a gay friendly country like the Netherlands has room for some criticisms of homosexuality, but this varies depending on where one travels. Regardless, with violence and discrimination against gays being rare as well as the legal status of same-sex marriage in the Netherlands, this country may be considered a gay utopia and should be safe for gays and lesbians except sometimes in religious neighbourhoods in the major Dutch cities, after big football matches or in demonstrations if there is a violent attitude in general. Be careful with openly kissing though, as it is not accepted, not even for hetero couples.Be very careful, as in recent times incidents with Gay/Lesbian couples are on the rise due to "hate-crimes" done by individuals. Be alert when walking at night or through parks. If you do not trust it, do not walk hand-in-hand or be "openly gay". People have been hospitalized.


Gapers Black Moors Head

Gaper on Van der Pigge shop in Haarlem

Usually the head is of a black man or Moor. This is because in the 15-17th centuries, pharmacists would travel through the country with an assistant trying to sell their medicines. Before an audience the pharmacist would give a pill to his assistant. These were often Moors. The assistant would pretend to be much better.So pharmacies became known by the assistant's head.Today some bars and restaurants are named after Gapers. There is also a large collections of them in the Netherlands Drugstore Museum in Maarssen.

The Netherlands is renowned for its liberal drug policy. While technically still illegal because of international treaties, personal use of soft drugs are regulated by the Ministry of Justice under an official policy of gedogen; literally this means to accept or tolerate, legally a doctrine of non-prosecution on the basis that the action taken would be so highly irregular as to constitute selective prosecution. This does not mean the Dutch are all permanently high; in fact drug usage is much lower in the Netherlands than it is in countries with more restrictive policies. Much of the clientèle of the coffeeshops see below are in fact tourists. Be sure you are among like-minded people before lighting up a spliff. However: it is customary to smoke only inside coffee shops or in private places; using drugs in public streets and being excessively high is considered impolite, so, try to maintain a certain discipline.

If you are 18 or older, you are allowed to buy and smoke small doses 5 g or less of cannabis or hash. For this you have to visit a coffeeshop, which are abundant in most larger towns. Coffeeshops are not allowed to sell alcohol. Minors those under 18 are not allowed inside. Coffeeshops are prohibited from explicit advertising, so many use the Rastafarian red-yellow-green colours to hint at the products available inside, while others are more discreet and sometimes almost hidden away from plain view.

When the Dutch gedoogbeleid "tolerance policy" began in the 1970s, coffeeshops were dumpy little places where a few hippies sold pot to each other from shoe boxes in their basements. Today, for better or worse, coffeeshops have grown into extremely sophisticated businesses that serve thousands of customers monthly. Their success, however, is not without controversy; some coffeeshops are operated by organized crime syndicates and serve as money-laundering operations, and many Dutch consider their presence, and the accompanying throngs of foreigners, to be a nuisance. This has caused a backlash; now many coffeeshops have closed and magic mushrooms are mostly banned. The "wietpas" "weed pass", which used to be a mandatory pass to be able to buy weed, is no longer in use. It was introduced in 2012 to prevent foreigners from buying drugs, as to reduce the problem of drug tourism. This problem, however, still exists and has led to local laws in major cities in the southern provinces of Limburg, North Brabant and Zeeland preventing non-Dutch citizens from entering a coffeeshop. Since failing to comply with the law can mean instant closure and criminal charges, coffeeshops enforce this strictly. When in doubt, ask the bouncer. If rejected, do not make a scene: no really means no. Do not try to get others to buy drugs for you, this will get you in trouble with law enforcement. While it has become harder for foreigners to buy weed in the Netherlands, the use of drugs is still legal, also for foreigners.

Beware that cannabis sold in the Netherlands is often stronger than varieties outside, so be careful when you take your first spliff. Be particularly wary of cannabis-laced pastries "space cakes" as it's easy to eat too much by accident — although there are also unscrupulous shops that sell space cakes with no weed at all. Wait at least one hour after eating!

Hallucinogenic "magic" mushrooms, once legal, are banned as of December 1st, 2008. However, "magic truffles", which contain the same active ingredients as magic mushrooms are still technically legal and are sold in some Amsterdam head shops.

It is forbidden to drive any motorized vehicle while impaired, which includes driving under the influence of both illegal and legal recreational or prescribed drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and mushrooms as well as alcohol, and medication that might affect your ability to drive.

Buying soft drugs from dealers in the streets is always illegal and is commonly discouraged. The purchase of other hard drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, or processed/dried mushrooms is still dealt with by the law. However, often people who are caught in possession of small amounts of illegal drugs for personal use are not prosecuted.

The act of consuming any form of drugs is legal, even if possession is not. If you are seen taking drugs, you may theoretically be arrested for possession, but not for use. This has one important effect; do not hesitate to seek medical help if you are suffering from bad effects of drug use, and inform emergency services as soon as possible of the specific illegal drugs you have taken. Medical services are unconcerned with where you got the drugs, they will not contact the police, their sole intention is to take care of you in the best way possible.

At some parties, a "drug testing desk" is offered, where you can have your synthetic drugs tested. This is mainly because many pills contain harmful chemicals in addition to the claimed ingredients; for example, many pills of "ecstasy" MDMA will also contain speed amphetamines. Some pills don't even contain any MDMA at all. The testing desks are not meant to encourage drug use, since venue owners face stiff fines for allowing drugs in their venues, but they are tolerated or 'gedoogd' since they mitigate the public health risks. Note: the desk won't return the drugs tested.

Please note that there are significant risks associated with drug use, even in the Dutch liberal climate

while marijuana bought at coffeeshops is unlikely to be hazardous, hard drugs like cocaine and heroin and synthetic drugs like ecstasy are still illegal and unregulated. These hard drugs are likely to be in some way contaminated, especially when bought from street dealers.

some countries have legislation in place that make it illegal to plan a trip for the purpose of committing illegal acts in another jurisdiction, so you might be apprehended in your home country after having legally smoked pot in the Netherlands. It should go without saying but many people each year run afoul of this nonetheless that before leaving the Netherlands ensure that you have absolutely no drugs-related matter in your luggage, in your pocket, etc. If you used enough that your clothes have picked up an odour, you may wish to consider running them through the laundry before packing or wearing them for the flight home.


The national language in the Netherlands is Dutch. It's a charming, lilting language punctuated by phlegm-trembling glottal gs not in the south and schs also found, for example, in Arabic. Dutch, especially in written form, is partially intelligible to someone who knows other Germanic languages especially German and Frisian, and you might be able to get along at least partially in these languages if spoken slowly.

Besides Dutch, several other languages are spoken in the Netherlands, in the eastern provinces of Groningen, Overijsel, Drenthe and Gelderland people speak a local variety of Low Saxon Grunnegs or Tweants for example. In the southern province of Limburg the majority speaks Limburgish, a language unique in Europe because of its use of pitch and tone length to distinguish words for example: 'Veer' with a high tone means 'we', while the same word with a low tone means 'four'.

Officially, the Netherlands is bilingual, as Frisian is also an official language. Frisian is the second closest living language to English. Despite its status as official language, it is spoken almost exclusively in the province of Friesland. Other forms of Frisian are also spoken by small minorities in Germany. When travelling through Friesland you will come across many road signs in two languages similar to Wales and South Tyrol. This is also the case in southern Limburg. Everybody speaks Dutch, but the Frisians are so protective of the minority language that ordering a beer in it might just get you the next one free.

"They all speak English there" is quite accurate for the Netherlands. Education from an early age in English and other European languages mostly German and to a lesser degree French makes the Dutch some of the most fluent polyglots on the continent, and the most English-proficient country in the world where English isn't official 90% of the population speaks at least some English. Oblivious travellers to the major cities should be able to make their way without learning a word of Dutch. Dealing with seniors or finding yourself in a family atmosphere, however, will probably require learning a bit of the native tongue.

In areas bordering Germany, German is widely spoken. However, outside of the eastern provinces, a good amount of people especially amongst the younger generation can also speak basic German too. French will be understood by some as well, especially the older generations. Immigrant languages are prominent in urban areas, they include Turkish, Arabic, Sranan-Tongo Suriname and Papiamento Netherlands Antilles.

Foreign television programmes, films and are almost always shown in their original language with subtitles. The same is true for segments in locally/nationally-produced programmes that involve someone using a foreign language. The major exception is children's programmes, which are dubbed into Dutch.


The international calling code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00, so to call the US, substitute 001 for +1 and for the UK 0044 for +44.

The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The cell phone networks are operated by KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile; other operators use one of these 3 networks. The networks are high quality and cover every corner of the Netherlands. With the exception of some low-end service providers, all mobile operators support GPRS. KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile offer UMTS and HSDPA service in almost all parts of the country.

There are few public phone booths left in the Netherlands. They are mostly found at train stations. Telfort booths accept coins, whereas most KPN booths accept only prepaid cards or credit cards. Some new public phones have been installed which accept coins again.Be aware of public phones in a more public area as well as the same types in a more public-private area, where tariffs per unit or amount of calling time can differ.

National Directory Inquiries can be reached -since 2007- on 1888, 1850 and various other 'Inquiry-operators'. Rates differ by operator, but are usually rather high, more than €1 per call, as well as per-second charges.

International Directory Inquiries can be reached on 0900 8418 Mon-Fri 8AM-8PM, €0.90 per minute.

Phone numbers can also be found on the Internet, free of charge, on (, De ( and for opening times visit ( or (http://www.openingstijden...).

0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.

If you're bringing your own GSM cell phone, using your existing plan to call or receive calls whilst in the Netherlands can be very expensive due to "roaming" charges. Receiving phone calls on a cell phone using a Dutch SIM card is free in most cases; charges apply if you're using a foreign SIM card, as the call is theoretically routed through your country of origin. It's cheaper to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card to insert into your GSM phone, or even to buy a very cheap pay-as-you-go card+phone bundle. For example: lyca (, lebara (, ortel ( and vectone ( are providers that specialize in cheap rates to foreign countries. ( targets those travelling through multiple countries.

To enjoy cheap international calls from the Netherlands you can use low-cost dial-around services such as Qazza (, BelBazaar (, pennyphone (, SlimCall (, telegoedkoop (, beldewereld (, teleknaller ( services are directly available from any landline in the Netherlands. No contract, no registration is required. Most dial-around services offer USA, Canada, Western Europe and many other countries at the price of a local call so you can save on your phone expenses easily. They also work from public payphones.

Internet cafés can be found in most cities, usually they also provide international calling booths. Many public libraries provide Internet access.Wireless Internet access using Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly popular and is available in many hotels, pubs, stations and on Schiphol, either for free, or at extortionate prices through one of the national "networks" of hotspots.


The Dutch are among the most informal and easy-going people in Europe, and there are not many strict social taboos to speak of. It is unlikely that Dutch people will be offended simply by your behaviour or appearance. In fact it is more likely that visitors themselves will be offended by overly direct conversation. Nevertheless, the standards for overt rudeness and hostility are similar to those in other western European countries. If you feel you are deliberately being treated offensively, then you probably are.

The exception to this openness is personal wealth. It is considered vulgar to for instance reveal the height of your salary, so asking somebody about this will be considered nosy and will probably just get you an evasive answer. Likewise, it's not advisable to be forceful about your own religion or to assume a Dutch person you've met is a Catholic or a Calvinist, since most people do not adhere to any faith at all, and the country has a long, proud history of cultural and religious tolerance. In urban areas it is not considered rude to ask somebody about this, but you'll generally be expected to be entirely tolerant of whatever the other person believes and not attempt to proselytize in any way. Openly religious behaviour is usually met with bewilderment and ridicule rather than hostility. An exception is the Dutch Bible Belt which runs from Zeeland into South Holland, Utrecht and Gelderland, and consists of towns with many strong Dutch Reformed Christians, who are more likely to be insulted by different religious views. Openly nationalist sentiments are likewise viewed with some suspicion among the general public, though there are a number of nationalistic celebrations like King's Day Koningsdag, April 27th and during football championships. Mostly though, these nationalistic celebrations are mostly used as an excuse to party together rather than being true "nationalistic" events.

Corporate culture

corporate culture

The Dutch take punctuality for business meetings very seriously and expect that you will do likewise; call with an explanation if you are delayed.

Lateness, missed appointments, postponements, changing the time of an appointment or a late delivery deteriorates trust and can ruin relationships.

Exchange business cards during or after conversation. No set ritual exists. Business cards in English are acceptable.

The Dutch are extremely adept at dealing with foreigners. They are the most experienced and most successful traders in Europe.

The Dutch tend to get right down to business. Business negotiations proceed at a rapid pace.

Presentations should be practical, factual and never sloppy.

An individual's cooperation and trust are valued over performance. One-upmanship is frowned upon.

The Dutch tend to be direct, giving straight "yes" and "no" answers.

The Dutch are conservative and forceful and can be stubborn and tough negotiators. They are willing to innovate or experiment, but with minimal risk.

Companies are frugal and careful with money. Business is profit-oriented with the bottom line being very important. However, the Dutch are not obsessed with numbers.

Strategy is cautious and pragmatic, usually involving step-by-step plans. Preparations are made to improvise the plan, if needed. Strategy is clear and communicated to all levels.

In many companies the decision-making process is slow and ponderous, involving wide consultation. Consensus is vital. The Dutch will keep talking until all parties agree.

Once decisions are made, implementation is fast and efficient.

In the Netherlands, commitments are taken seriously and are honored. Do not promise anything or make an offer you are not planning to deliver on.

corporate culture

Within Dutch society nudity is less sexualized as in for example the Anglosphere and resembles more the views of other Northern European cultures on nudity. Saunas, gyms and swimming pools are often visited by families and therefore always mixed. In public saunas keeping one's clothes or bathing suit on is strictly forbidden. It is considered inappropriate and unsanitary, therefore it is good manners to undress. Nudity is the norm. Some saunas do offer special men-only or women-only evenings. At the beach and on the terraces along it, the Dutch are as sparsely clothed as possible. Do not get offended by this because to the Dutch this kind of beach dress is completely normal. Women, also older women, may also sun bathe topless on most beaches in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has some nudist beaches.

Weddings can range from small private affairs to elaborate parties, depending on the preferences of individuals. Dutch law only recognizes weddings as legally binding when performed by a government official, but a church ceremony may be included in the wedding festivities. Most people have a civil wedding, often conducted in the town hall. In the Netherlands there is a statutory requirement for couples intending to marry to formally register that intention with officials beforehand; allowing people who may object, time to learn of the intended marriage. This process is called "ondertrouw".

The majority of the Dutch are irreligious and religion is in the Netherlands generally considered as a very personal matter which is not supposed to be propagated in public.

The Dutch avoid superlatives. Compliments are offered sparingly, and to say that something is "not bad" is to praise it.

A person who never offers criticism is seen as either being simple-minded or failing to tell the truth. A foreigner need not worry too much about saying something the will hurt feelings. The Dutch will argue, but seldom take offense.

Dutch humor is subtle rather than slapstick.

The Dutch speak directly and use a lot of eye contact. To a foreigner, them may appear abrupt, but it is just their manner of communicating.

Do not call the Netherlands "Holland." Holland is a region within the Netherlands.

The Dutch value privacy and seldom speak to strangers. It is more likely that they will wait for you to make the first move. Don't be afraid to do so.

Smoking is prohibited in many areas. Always ask before lighting up.

Do not discuss money or prices or ask personal questions.

Social etiquette

social etiquette

When meeting and parting for the first time, shaking hands is the default position between both men and women. When someone is introduced, he/she will shake hands and state his/her name. At the next meeting, shaking hands is not necessary, but in business situations it is common.

In the Netherlands, cheek-kissing is in certain regions and social circles a common way of greeting among women and between women and men.It is only done among people who know each other rather well. Men don't kiss other men on the cheeks. Men and women, and women among each other, will do it more often. Two men will generally shake hands. Kissing is particularly suitable for informal occasions, and is also common practice when congratulating someone. Hand shaking is more appropriate for formal occasions. The cheek-kissing is not compulsory. If someone does not want to be kissed, he or she extends the hand for a handshake. This will not be considered odd or rude.

Dutch people will kiss three times alternating right and left cheeks. This could lead to awkward situations for Anglo people, being used to just two kisses. It is alright or sometimes even more acceptable to just press the cheeks to each other instead of actually kissing. Also, always kiss on the cheeks and never give air-kisses. Often there will not be an actual kiss, but rather the touching of the cheeks against each other. Kisses are never supposed to be wet kisses.

Phrases saying hello or goodbye differ between regions, but are generally understood everywhere. However, the use of dialectal forms, for example the Brabantic "houdoe", Limburgish "haije", Gronings "moi", and the Frisian "'goeie'" links the speaker to that region.

social etiquette

Dutch people quickly start calling people by their first name. In the Netherlands, a younger person, a child, a relative, a friend, or an acquaintance are addressed with an informal "je/jij" "you". The formal "u" is used to address people one does not know, or is only slightly acquainted with. "U" is also used to address a higher-ranking businessperson, although it can soon be replaced by the informal "je."

When meeting someone in the Netherlands for the first time, they are generally called sir or madam, but one will soon be asked to refer to them by their first name. In other countries, it takes much longer for people to associate on a first name basis. There is no special rule that tells how to deal with this, it is safe to follow the lead of the other person. When one introduces him/herself with just their first name, it is safe to assume that they prefer to be addressed with the informal "jij/je".

The Dutch do not use titles when they speak to someone. In writing, one can state the title, but only in an official letter. The only exception is the Dutch King and Queen, which will always be referred to as His and Her Majesty. However, the current King, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, has stated that people can address him in any way they feel comfortable with.

When making a phone call, always state name and, if appropriate, company name. Even when one calls a cab, order a pizza, or ask for information, it is polite to mention one's name.

When receiving a call, one does the same: pick up the phone and state the name. When a Dutch person answers the phone, he/she will identify him-/herself by stating their first name and/or last name. The name is usually preceded by "met" "You're speaking with." The caller is expected to identify him- or herself as well, before starting the conversation or asking to speak to another person.

When making a phone call, first ask if the call is convenient. If it isn't a convenient time, offer to call back later. It is best not to make personal calls before 09:00 or after 22:00 9:00 am/10:00 pm. On Sundays, one is expected not to call before 10:00. It is also better to avoid dinner time 18:00–19:30, 6:00-7:30 pm.

social etiquette

When invited to a lunch or dinner, the Dutch will make it clear that you are their guest and that they intend to pay the bill, otherwise expect to "Go Dutch" and pay your fair share. No one will be embarrassed at splitting the bill.

A waiter or waitress is beckoned by slightly raising a hand, making eye-contact or calling "Ober" "Waiter" or "Mevrouw" "Waitress", but not too loudly. Snapping fingers is considered very rude.

It is also considered rude to leave the table during dinner, even to go to the bathroom. During a long dinner, one may leave the table between courses to visit the bathroom. It is polite to ask if one may be excused. When one has finished eating, one places the fork and knife next to each other at the 3:15 position on the plate with the sharp end of the knife towards oneself and the tips of the fork down. When invited for a meal in someone's home, people are expected to eat all the food on their plate. It's better to take multiple portions of food rather than too much at once and not eating all of it which is considered wasteful or a sign that the food didn't taste well. The Dutch will invite only very close friends and relatives they feel close to for a home dinner. It might take a long time of friendship before this will happen or it might never happen at all.

Table manners are important to the Dutch and if one breaks this etiquette, the Dutch might make remarks about it. During the entire meal, the fork is always held in the left hand when used. Knife and spoon are held in the right hand. The knife is not put down after the carving of the meat/fish. Both knife and fork are used together to eat. The napkin is placed on the lap. Eating with one's mouth open, burping, smacking, and making other eating noises are considered uncivilized. Putting new food in the mouth, drinking or speaking while there's still food in the mouth is considered rude. The Dutch frown upon breaking these basic rules. Bread is allowed to be eaten by hand. Soup is eaten with a spoon and not to be drank. Becoming tipsy is only acceptable when the dinner is held with close friends. When one does not wish to eat certain foods, it is appreciated when the host is told in advance.

In the Netherlands, men and women are equal, which means that women enjoy the same privileges as men. Enjoying lunch or dinner with a male or female friend will very often end up in Going Dutch splitting the bill. When one invites someone, or if one is invited, it is only in corporate situations to be expected that the one who does the inviting pays for dinner. Otherwise bills will be split up, even sometimes when people are on a date. It is a way of showing that one is independent and self-reliant, which is highly valued in the Dutch society and insisting to pay the bill for the other party might be considered slightly offensive by the other party.

In the Netherlands, everyone receives a basic salary, tipping is optional. For example:

in a hotel, €1-2 to a porter, room service, or cleaning lady at the time of service.

in restaurants and cafés, 5-10% of the total bill. Leaving some small change on a restaurant table is common. Most Dutch restaurants and cafés collect all the tips received during the evening and split the amount among everyone working that evening also kitchen/cleaning staff. If one is not satisfied with services rendered, he/she does not have to tip.

tips are generally not expected in bars, but are not uncommon.